Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/127

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a tiny advance in the near future." I believe that an almost total suppression of mechanical devices would be a decided step in advance, and just as influential in the evolution of the art of the stage. I recall Michelet's words: "A drama simple and vigorous, played throughout the countryside, where the energy of talent, the creative power which lies in the heart, and the youthful imagination of an entirely new people will do away with mere physical means, sumptuous stage-settings, and costumes, without which the feeble dramatists of this outworn age cannot move."

Art would have everything to gain if it cast aside this childish luxury to which it has become enslaved, that is valueless except to those whose brains are withered and people who can in no wise feel the true emotions of art. Certain performances given by the Œuvre des Trente ans de Théâtre have very easily done without stage-settings; and we know that rehearsals without costumes and scenery have frequently produced an impression a hundred times more profound and lasting than the most elaborately contrived production. I have often tested this out for myself, in our regular Paris theaters as well as in People's Theaters like that at Bussang. Scenery is a convention, and the only ones who are ever deceived are either the very simple, or those who are least so. The latter do not interest me at all, and as to the former, well, the people have no monopoly of them: for while the masses are more simple than we, they are not more childlike. Simplicity is either